I continue try to improve myself and my outlook on life through yoga. I have recently added some Bikram yoga classes to my weekly routine. If you haven’t heard about Bikram, let me tell you, it is hard-core. It is based on 26 poses, and each pose is performed twice. The class is 90 minutes long and you practice in a room that is heated to 105 degrees. Before your feet hit your mat, beads of sweat are forming on your forehead. Some people just wear bathing suits to their class, knowing that they are going to be hot and drenched with sweat in the first five minutes.
The first class I took I found myself tired on the first breathing pose. This was not a good sign and did not give me a great outlook for the next 86 minutes. I don’t know how I can write down how this breathing exercise was straining my body, but it does involve pushing your head all the way back as far as you can and looking at the ceiling while your hands are in Namaste directly under your chin and your elbows are at a 180 degree angle above your head. During this pose my head felt as though it was going to snap off at the base because it is pressed so far back. Not relaxing, but body beneficial for sure. We proceed to do another 45 minutes of strenuous poses on our feet before we move to the ground for our sitting poses.
The last class I went to the teacher, who was also the owner of the studio, was like an army drill sergeant. Once you enter the Bikram room, you do not leave unless you have had prior permission. In one class, three people were scolded. One left early without permission; she won’t do that again. One woman tried to leave because it was too difficult for her. She was told to sit on her mat; she was not allowed to exit the room. Another had an injury excuse that was quickly dismissed.
The next woman tried to get out of doing some of her poses and the teacher told her to get back up and do her poses and that she will be fine. Teacher, who I will call the Bikram bully, said in a lighthearted manner, “yesterday I had a man who passed out on his mat and then he got right back up and continued his poses with a smile on his face. Now that is a true yogi.”
Then there was the woman behind me whose son is in first grade with Ava. We were working on a pose which really stretched and compromised our ankles. The Bikram bully says “why aren’t you doing your pose . . . yeah you, lady in the purple.” “Oh, I have a really bad ankle and I have had surgery and this pose really hurts it.” I could see that the “lady in the purple” really thought she nailed it with a killer excuse. It sounded awesome to me. I was ready to turn around and tell her to go ahead and get her ass in shivasina real quick and rest that poor ankle. Bikram bully says, “you can do this! We are always using our injuries an excuse not to do something. We end up identifying and associating ourselves based on our injuries. You need try to do this. Bikram [the founding father of Bikram yoga I was guessing] injured himself when he was 17 and was told he would never walk again. Through yoga he healed his knee in 6 months.”
This is Bikram Choudhury doing one of the 26 poses
Oh my god, I get it, this is the military form of yoga; the get down on the ground and give me 100 kind of yoga. There is something about this I really like.
Other kinds of yoga such as Hatha or Vinyasa, we breath in meditation for 5 minutes, work slowly into our Asanas (poses) which can be challenging to try to perfect, and then move back down to the ground for some stretching and Shivasina (relaxation flat on your back arms and legs splayed pose). Throughout my entire practice, the teacher is reaffirming that if anyone has any aches and pains, please don’t push it, modify, modify, modify.
Bikram yoga is all about pain. During at least two poses of the practice the teacher will shout out, “this will hurt but it’s supposed to hurt so don’t worry about it”. Or they will say, “go farther, go farther, push yourself until it hurts.” You know how we have always been told not to lock our knees? That locking our knees is very bad? In Bikram they are constantly shouting “lock your knee, lock your knee! You cannot get into your pose until you lock your knees!” There have been times during my Bikram practice that I fear I may snap something in two. But I push myself through, giving every pose 100 percent (partly out of fear of the Bikram bully) and I continue to find it amazing what my body can adapt to and grow from in yoga. I love it. I love every kind of yoga I have done so far. I love how in Bikram I sweat all my toxins out for 90 minutes and the whole rest of the day I drink massive amounts of water and my spirits seem to be lifted. There is definitely a combination of mental and physical growth that can happen with yoga if you are open to it. I say Bikram bully, bring it, because I’m ready to take it.
Yesterday I took the triplets to their 3 year well baby visit. For the first time, they were all very willing to stand on the scale and get weighed and stand against the wall to get measured for height. Once inside the doctor’s office Elsa asked what the nurse’s name was and then she wanted to be the first to be checked out. She is like Ava in that she loves to go to the doctor. After Elsa got her checkup we asked Violet and Preston who wanted to go next to get the checkup and Violet quickly volunteered Preston. After Preston it was Violet’s turn and she knew what was coming so she quickly hopped up onto the bed. Violet does not like to go to the doctor or the dentist, and she generally does not allow anyone that she doesn’t know to handle her. Elsa and Preston know that Violet has anxiety about the doctor so they rushed up to be by her side during the harrowing event. Elsa grabbed Violet’s hand and said “it’s ok VV” and Violet looked down at Elsa with so much appreciation. Elsa held Violet’s hand the entire time and Violet did better than she has ever done at the doctor before.
My babies who weighed 3 pounds at birth now weigh 25 pounds. At 25 pounds they are only at 3 percent for weight for their age. The doctor says that they have always been at 3 to 5 percent and are staying on their curve and that they are perfectly healthy. He says they are just skinny kids and it is a lot better to be skinny than fat, even at their young age; it is important to teach good eating habits now. Violet is the tallest at 45 percent on the growth chart, Elsa is at 25 percentile and Preston is 20 percent height on the boy chart. They are very healthy children, and I feel so grateful for this considering that things could’ve been very different for them being high-order multiples.
You know how sometimes, or quite often, you get your kid a birthday or Christmas gift and you think it is going to be great and they will spend their days playing with this wonderful toy while you are able to get dinner cooked and laundry folded? Then you are so disappointed when this wonderful gift is tossed aside after one day of use. Let me tell you, the trampoline that now takes up half of our playroom is the best gift ever. Ava jumps on the trampoline when she wakes up in the morning and then she jumps on it when she gets home. The triplets jump on it on and off all day long. They have created their own games of chase and ball throwing inside of the trampoline. Yesterday we had a WWF match between Violet and Preston inside the trampoline for about a ½ an hour. Thank you to the best nanny in the world, nanny Kathy, for insisting that we buy this for them for their birthday.
My mom announced to everyone on Monday that she would not be coming back as principal next year. Mom will go back to her real love; teaching. We are all happy for her and know that she will be more relaxed and happy being back in the classroom with her kids. Ava, however, was not happy. My mom picked her up on Tuesday to take her to school and break the news to her. Ava’s reaction was one of sadness as she said, “I am not going to be special anymore. I won’t be Mrs. Traub’s granddaughter anymore.” My mom told her that of course she will still be special and of course will still be her granddaughter. But I can definitely understand how Ava feels. She is a little more special at her school because she is the principal’s granddaughter, and there are certain benefits that go along with that. But Ava is an expert at letting things go and moving on with her life, which is how she is handling this news. Mom got her a big huge cinnamon role from Starbucks after breaking the news, and that seemed to soften the blow.
We will all miss Mrs. Traub at Blue Oak, but there are other things that she is meant to be doing now, and she has had the courage to follow heart.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.